There are some things that just scream summer to me: sitting on the deck with a glass of something delicious in hand, driving in my car with the windows down while singing along to the radio, evening bonfires with smores and BBQ meals on the patio. Typically when I think of BBQ season I think of juicy burgers, steaks and ribs dripping in sauce served alongside coleslaw or homemade fries. While I love eating BBQ, I don’t typically get to make it much myself. The BBQ has really become Mike’s domain
When Mike and I moved in together, we never discussed who would be responsible for certain tasks around the house, yet it worked out anyway. Most of our household chores just seem to figure themselves out. If I’m busy with work, Mike will vacuum and take care of the dishes. When I have some free time and Mike is tied up, I’ll step in and clean the bathrooms or dust the furniture. It’s really been an equal division of labour – except where the cooking is concerned. I do most of the cooking because I love it. Mike is often a huge help which is great, but to be honest, I like doing most of it on my own. I get into a rhythm and I know exactly what need to be done, so letting someone else come in and help can sometimes be more difficult. This must be the way Mike feels about the BBQ. So, anytime we are BBQing, Mike takes the lead on the cooking. I’ll do the prep work, but once the food makes it to the grill, it’s all him.
When I was doing my weekly meal planning last week, I noticed that fresh Salmon fillets were on sale. I decided that we needed to get some to cook on the BBQ. Salmon is the go-to fish choice in our house. It’s very versatile, has a mild, “non-fishy” flavour and is a great source of healthy fats. I’ve gotten used to baking salmon in the oven, but when the weather is as great as it has been lately, it seems wrong to not cook it on the grill and what better way than on a cedar plank?
Mike found a great method of using the cedar planks that left such a great flavour. The last time we cooked on the planks we just put the fish on the wood and then put that on the grill. It turned out great, but since trying this new method, we’ll never go back! Today’s recipe is for salmon served alongside some roasted veggies that are currently in season in Niagara. There is tons of flavour, it’s bright and colourful and did I mention it is WHOLE 30 APPROVED?!
To start, you need to soak your cedar planks in warm water for about four hours. While the wood is soaking, you can prep your fillets. Most grocery stores will remove the bones for you which leaves little work for you. I like to double check anyway, so I run my fingers across the fillet and gently pull out any of the small ones that may have been missed. I placed mine on a pachment lined baking sheet so I could easily transport them from the fridge to the BBQ.
For the seasoning, I wanted to do something fresh. In a small dish, I combined olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and mixed it all up. Then, I brushed this over the fillets and covered the tray in cling wrap. This went in the fridge until we were ready to grill, about 4 hours.
Once dinner time rolled around, it was time to get the grill ready. Instead of heating up the grill and then adding the planks with the fish on cold, Mike put the planks on the grates and closed the lid. This let the boards get toasty. After about 10 minutes, he flipped the planks so the grilled side was facing up. We had some leftover marinade so he spooned a bit of this on the plank before placing the fillets on the charred side. Once the fish went on the planks, we closed the lid to the BBQ. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the temperature. You want it around 500 degrees. If it spikes, it could mean that your boards have caught flame. If this happens, just lightly mist with a spray bottle of water. Depending on the size of your fillets, the time may vary. Usually it takes about 10 minutes to cook through a one-inch fillet, but that time could change, so it’s best to check it every so often. You’ll know when it’s cooked when the thickest part of the fillet flakes all the way through.
While the fish was on the grill, I took care of roasting up some veggies I bought at the Welland Farmer’s Market – cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red onion, mushrooms and bell peppers. I tossed these in some olive oil, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and a little bit of crushed red chili flakes for some heat. There’s nothing like a colourful array of fresh, local produce to get me feeling excited about dinner! This went into the oven for about 25 minutes.
Doesn’t it sound and look good? Here’s the recipe for you to try yourself!
Cedar Plank Salmon with Roasted Seasonal Veggies
All the smells of summer collide in this cedar plank salmon recipe that is easy to follow and completely Whole 30 Approved!
- For the salmon:
- 2 salmon fillets – size and thickness will vary (about 1.5 lbs each)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- Juice of 1 lemon For the veggies:
- 1 bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces (any colour)
- 1 red onion, cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 zucchini, cut into semi-circle pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your taste)
- Prepare the cedar planks by soaking them in warm water for 4 hours.
- In a small bowl, add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and lemon juice. Whisk together to combine. Brush the mixture over the meat side of the fillets. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook (while planks soak – about 4 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 375. Place veggies on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Preheat the BBQ. When it is hot, place planks on the grill and toast for about 8-10 minutes over direct heat on high.
- Flip the planks and spoon about 1 Tbsp of leftover marinade on the boards. Place the fillets skin side down on the planks and close the lid. Keep the lid closed to keep in the heat at around 500 degrees, misting the boards with water if they catch fire. Cook for 10 –20 minutes, depending on the thickness, until the thickest part of the fillet flakes all the way through.